The limits of ebooks

One particular important take from Slate. This points up one of the most irritating aspects of the Great Ebook Debate–the ways in which most ebook evangelists fail to account for the variety of different kinds of books, and their suitability (or lack thereof) for conversion to ebook. I think ebooks are terrific for lots of nonfiction, information-driven titles. I think they do OK for most kinds of narrative work, too. But for graphically driven titles of any kind–be they art books, cookbooks, or especially kids books–the printed object itself just doesn’t translate to digital format as simply as textually driven titles.

Here at Agate, we continue to explore all kinds of ebook formats and ebook sales models. But it seems to us, at our niche in the publishing ecosystem, that the rush to ebook adoption is happening elsewhere–perhaps among bestsellers, perhaps in genre books, but not so much with the books we publish. It’s growing, but it doesn’t appear likely to supplant print any time soon.

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